THE CHINGCHOK HUNTER
Pupils at my school recently put on an assembly about the past, telling their peers and parents what the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s were like. The information presented included coverage of atomic bombs, racism, music, trends and sport. One of the things they mentioned was that people used to watch movies on a VCR (videocassette recorder) and that you could use it to record songs and videos! It started me thinking about what has changed over the course of not only my life, but theirs, too. Most of the pupils in the performance were born in 1999, and since then, the mobile phone has become a hand-held computer, and something the size of a fat credit card can hold thousands of songs.
A China firm is developing this extra-wide ‘super bus’ that straddles two lanes of traffic and allows cars to pass underneath it while it carries 1,400 passengers seated above. SHENZHEN HUASHI
Before the year 2000, CD players were "the business", not skipping even when held sideways! Mobile phones were brick-like and had extendable aerials, and photographs were captured on a reel, 24 at a time. When I was a child, I played computer games using a tape cassette that took about 20 minutes to load _ and inevitably crash _ on a computer with rubber keys.
There is no doubt that we are on a technological revolution that is mostly a good thing. I say that because, as an example, children spend so much time on computer games because they are very affordable, accessible with realistic graphics and gameplay, and why wouldn't they? But in reality, is it affecting our children, their time management and their attention spans? Almost certainly. But what is in store for their future?
Augmented reality (AR) will become omnipresent in the near future, allowing a simple internet search on a lightweight mobile device to yield results via Wi-Fi, camera, Google Maps/Earth/Image and Search. This allows you to get the image search results connected with, and lots of information about, for example, the building in this picture. Also, perhaps you can take such a device to a museum in a foreign country and receive instant translations of the posted museum signs, or even traffic signs! MAC FUNAMIZU
Gordon Moore, born in 1929, co-founded the Intel Corporation in 1968. You are probably very familiar with the Intel Inside logo on many computers because Intel makes processors, conductors, chips and other computer-related components.
Three years before he co-founded Intel, he wrote a paper on how components in circuits have doubled every year since the original integrated circuit. This leads to an exponential growth in the number of components in circuits, which are essential in a vast proportion of technologies in our world.
To put this exponential growth in perspective, if you were given the choice of having 1 million baht now, or 1 baht doubling every day for a month, which would you take? Due to the doubling factor, the exponential growth of the number 1 in option two means that at the end of one month you would have over a thousand times as much as you would have if you had accepted the million.
The transistors in everyday circuits are inexpensive, and the exponential growth in their numbers has led to huge developments in digital cameras, computer speeds, memory, and more. Basically, they have given our world a technological revolution. Based on Moore's law, their numbers continue to increase at an ever-expanding rate, and this fantastic growth will have dramatic effects on our future technologies.
And larger growth happens as time increases, meaning the number of inexpensive transistors put in a circuit next year will be far more than the number that has ever been added to any circuit to date. This trend is set to continue for at least the next few years, so what your smartphones can do today will simply look amateurish in the next few years.
The General Motors Pavilion at the recent Expo 2010 in Shanghai exhibited this intelligent, ecologically friendly and electricallypropelled car that uses one-fifth the parking space of today’s cars while it drives itself using autopilot. Available in 2030. PATSINEE KRANLERT
Augmented reality (AR) is part of your immediate, technological future. It is where the digital world interacts with reality. Examples of basic AR have been around for some time, such as at the beginning of football matches when the team badges are displayed on the pitch.
Or where the world record line is shown in swimming, where the swimmers are real but the digital images are interacting and enhancing the viewing pleasure. But it is set to be much more impressive than this.
Heads-up displays are a form of AR, where information can be given to pilots or drivers of cars bypassing the need for them to look away from their windscreen. Speed, temperature and revs can all be displayed on the windscreen of the car, meaning information is available to the driver while he or she is still watching the road.
In fighter planes, these images can be displayed on the visor of the helmet, giving digital information over real-life views, much like Luke Skywalker's helmet in Star Wars. But the images are programmed to become ever more useful to everyday life.
If you have a smartphone with a camera and GPS and you download an AR app, standing on an actual street, holding up your phone and looking at your screen while pointing the camera at certain AR applicable areas will bring up digital images and virtual information overlaying the actual physical places you are looking at.
In the near future, with the right equipment, you could find yourself in a new city, viewing the streets with your smart-phone and being informed on where to eat, what shows are on, what time the buses stop at the station you are looking at and whether the store in front of you has what you want to buy! The digital and real worlds are becoming interwoven.
Stem cell research holds incredible promise for the future. Although still some way off from fulfilling its conceptual potential, in the future stem cell research may hold the answers to longer life, cancer treatment and organ replacement.
When you think of how many people suffer and die from cancer, heart disease and organ failure, and how many billions their treatment and care cost each year, the ability to replace damaged tissues of organs with your own genetic tissues is astounding.
In reality, in five years, burn sufferers may be able to have their own skin grown in a laboratory and grafted over the damaged tissue, thereby reducing scarring and increasing blood flow to the affected area, allowing it to heal much better than it can at present.
Replacing heart tissue or growing spinal cords may be a few more years away, but certainly stem cell research is on the verge of changing lives.
Fly me to the moon
The next time you debate on where to go on holiday, you may have space as an option! Okay, so the moon is a little too far off in the future, but flights out of the earth's atmosphere, where you will see the curvature of the earth and experience minutes of weightlessness, is an imminent reality.
Virgin Galactic is certainly leading the way with commercial space flights. It offers a trip into the outer atmosphere for a mere $20,000 (594,000 baht)! Flying from the Mojave desert in the US, Virgin Galactic will become a hub for people who want to see the earth from space while floating weightlessly!
If you have a spare $25 million (737 million baht), though, you could go to the International Space Station, thanks to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. However, these space tours won't probably be routine.
Virgin Galactic and similar independent space tour companies are more accessible and commercial and therefore offer a realistic view of space holidays in our future.
I'd love to go to space for a holiday, but a very short trip just isn't cost-effective enough yet. As with all technological advancements, however, this will get cheaper, so space, here we come!
Dave Canavan has an MSc in Behavioural Ecology and is the principal of Garden International School. Dave is fascinated by science and loves animals, especially the dangerous kind! You may contact Dave at
Dave Canavan has an MSc in Behavioural Ecology and is the principal of Garden International School. Dave is fascinated by science and loves animals, especially the dangerous kind! You may contact Dave email@example.com.
About the author
- Writer: David Canavan